Via Khaleej Times: Mers: No awareness drive among camel handlers yet. Excerpt:
Even as the UAE authorities are closely monitoring international and local developments related to the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, no awareness programme has been launched yet to educate the tens of thousands of people who deal with camels which are said to be the most likely animal reservoir of Mers-CoV, Khaleej Times has learnt.
Acting Saudi Health Minister Adel bin Mohammad Faqih advised citizens of the kingdom on Tuesday against consuming camel products, noting that experts had concluded the mammal could act as an incubator for Mers, reported Al Arabia News. This has not been validated by authorities in the UAE.
Reuters said the Saudi minister also told the Tuesday’s news conference that there had been “consensus in the discussions taking place over the last two days after the scientific team reviewed various evidence that it is advised not to get into close contact with camels, especially sick camels”.
Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) advised people at the most risk of severe disease to avoid contact with camels and take precautions when visiting places where the animals are present, and avoid drinking raw milk, it added.
The UAE is the second most Mers-hit country after Saudi Arabia. The rising number of cases in both the countries last weekend prompted the WHO to offer its assistance to investigate the pattern of outbreaks.
The presence of a large number of camels — which stood at over 378,000 in an official report released by Khartoum-based Arab Organisation for Agricultural Development way back in 2010 — is a concern as Mers scare is escalating.
What precautions have been taken to protect people who come in close contact with camels here are still not clear. Starting from camel keepers and milkmen, they include farm owners, traders, workers at slaughterhouses and veterinarians.
The level of awareness — about the disease and its link with the animal they are dealing with everyday, whether conclusive or not — among those who raise camels in the desert farms is also not known.
Officials from the veterinary section of the Public Health and Safety Department at the Dubai Municipality, who this week held meetings with the World Society for the Protection of Animals to improve animal protection in the emirate, said no special awareness programme has been launched yet on Mers.